My background includes over 30 years of public service in town government working with planning, environmental, administrative and financial issues. I am experienced in all aspects of local government operations and the relationship between town and county government. I have attended training programs provided through numerous organizations, such as the NYS Association of Towns, Pace University Land Use Law Center, the Dutchess County Planning Federation and others.
What experience and/or training has prepared you to serve in the position you seek?
Dutchess County Legislator, District 19, March 2012 to present
18 years as North East Town Supervisor, Jan. 1994 – Dec. 2011
4 years as North East Town Councilman, Jan. 1990 – Dec. 1993
16 years as a member, North East Town Planning Board, Sept. 1973 – Dec. 1989
( Board Chairman, 1976 – 1989 )
The county executive has proposed a 15 percent cut and permanent $25 million cap on sales taxes distributed to cities, towns and villages. Do you support or oppose this move; why or why not?
I understand the need of the County Executive to conserve as much sales tax revenue as possible to help close the county’s expected budget gap, among other actions. However, I am concerned about the prospect of any long-term cap being kept in place limiting any growth in revenue to towns as the economy improves and more sales tax revenue is realized. This aspect of the future relationship between the towns and the county needs to be addressed before I would be comfortable supporting any solution on the distribution of these revenues.
The county legislature has passed and repealed independent redistricting in the past few years. What is your position on independent redistricting at the county level?
Being a relatively new member of the Legislature, I was not involved in the past changes in establishing the current redistricting program. I favor hearing independent viewpoints and input being considered in the establishment of legislative district boundaries. Nevertheless, I am glad that an effort has been made in the formation of the special legislative committee on redistricting to include representation across party lines, with a mix of the geographic areas served within the county, and to hold a series of hearings around the county to seek local input.
The county is facing a $40 million budget gap while also embarking on a number of major capital projects like the Medical Examiner’s office, the Nelson House demolition and the jail. How would you approach this problem?
It is most unfortunate that the gap between revenue and expenses was not addressed in previous years and was left to become a major problem for our new County Executive. I laud his aim to bring the operating cost of the county under better control and to restructure county government into a more efficient organization. A program allowing incentives for voluntary early retirements has been implemented this year and will aid in reducing personnel cost for future years. The prospect of replacing the current jail and realizing cost savings in jail operation for the next 30 years seems to be a fiscally sound proposition and would save taxpayer money. The Nelson House Annex is a sad situation where, over many years, an old structure has come to an undignified and dangerous state, a condition that requires immediate action for the public’s safety.
What other issues do you see facing our county or the 19th county legislative district — and your solution?
Because of the economic downturn, Dutchess needs to restrengthen its economy and provide more employment for its residents. My aim is to bring more employment opportunities where they are needed and help diversify our economy. I would seek to broaden the scope of the economic development professionals of the county to include attracting smaller-sized enterprises that could fit well and prosper within our smaller rural communities. Partnerships with local government could be established for finding business location opportunities that would be sited in a manner compatible with the environment of rural towns. Any such activity would have to be consistent with the wants and desires of the local community and not imposed upon any town.
Why should voters pick you on Election Day?
I will use the knowledge and insight gained from my municipal and business background to help shape the changes to policies and programs needed to maintain vital services at the least cost and, in doing so, help strike the right balance that serves the best interests of district residents, their towns and the county.
As the Legislator for the 19th Legislative District serving Milan, North East, Pine Plains and Stanford, my main concern will continue to be the welfare of the people of the communities I serve and I will faithfully represent their interests in the County Legislature.
Sherman may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.